Federico Velverde's 98th minute goal from a breakaway move helped Real Madrid beat Barcelona in a five-goal thriller.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti felt that “it was an even game” after his side defeated rivals Barcelona 3-2 to enter the Spanish Super Cup final on Wednesday. First El Clasico of 2022 lived up to the expectations as it was a thrilling encounter and both sides couldn’t be separated in 90 minutes and the match went to extra time. Luuk de Jong canceled out Vinicius Jr’s opener. Karim Benzema restored the lead before Ansu Fati’s goal sent the game to extra-time. Eight minutes into extra-time, Federico Velverde’s goal sealed Real Madrid’s passage to the final.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) January 12, 2022
In the post-match press conference, Ancelotti said: “I don’t think that Barcelona dominated, as I think it was even. They used possession and we used counter-attacking. The fact that we sat deeper was so that we could use the counter, which was very effective.”
Real Madrid has an experienced midfield line-up consisting of the likes of Toni Kroos (32), Casemiro (29) and Luka Modric (36). However, as both Kroos and Modric are over 30 years old it is difficult for the los Blancos to play a high pressing game, therefore they resort to counter-attacking football. Vinicus’ youthful exuberance along with Benzema’s class makes them lethal on counters.
He added “Like I’ve said before, pressing high up is tougher for us because of the midfielders we have. It’s maybe not aesthetically pleasing, but we can have success with this. We created quality chances and scored three quality goals in what was truly an even game.”
In the 98th minute, Real Madrid scored the winner from a breakaway move. Barcelona were caught off guard as Casemiro released Rodrygo on the right and the Brazilian’s cross was slotted home by Velverde, who was brought in for Modric.
Ancelotti pointed out, when asked why he took off Luka Modrić, He said: “Without Modrić we lost something, but Valverde scored the goal that means we’re in the final. He is very quick in getting into the box and he scored the goal.”
Barcelona played really well despite going through their worst campaign in the history of the club. The likes of Oumane Dembele, Luuk de jong rose to the occasion while Pedri, Fati and Ferran Torres recovered from injuries make their mark.
Asked for his thoughts on Barcelona’s performance, the Italian said: “It’s clear that they’re getting better. They have important players coming back or joining, like Pedri, Ferran Torres or Ansu Fati. I think Xavi will do a good job and that they’ll improve.”
Real Madrid will play either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the final on Sunday.